Tuesday 24 October 2017

Swimming hero has no intention of hanging up his trunks

Steve Redmond pictured with wife Ann, children Saidbh and Steve and support manager Noel Browne
Steve Redmond pictured with wife Ann, children Saidbh and Steve and support manager Noel Browne
An emotional Steven Redmond with his wife Ann reacts to the show of support in Cork Airport last night
The crowds welcoming Steven Redmond in Co
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A RECORD-breaking Irish swimmer last night said he has no intention of retiring his swimming trunks.

Father-of-two Steven Redmond (47) arrived home to a hero's reception last night after he made history by becoming the first person to complete the daunting Oceans 7 challenge.

Mr Redmond arrived at Cork Airport and was stunned to discover supporters had arranged a welcome home party for him -- complete with victory bonfires being lit on hills in his native Ballydehob.

He swam the 20km Tsugaru Strait off Japan last Saturday -- the final swim in an epic crossing of the world's seven most difficult ocean channels.

An emotional Mr Redmond said the past 72 hours had been like a dream."I just can't believe it, to be honest. It is definitely a dream come true -- I'm so delighted and relieved to have finally done it. The record is just a bonus. I can't believe the welcome," he said.

Adding to the pressure for the swimmer was the knowledge that six others, including a number of professional swimmers, were also within sight of the Oceans 7 challenge.

He had to endure some nervous moments, as his successful crossing of the Tsugaru Strait only came after three previous bids had to be abandoned due to weather conditions and currents.

"I was exhausted. I only realised that I was going to do it when I was within sight of the beach. That water seemed to have a mind all of its own," the swimmer said.

Mr Redmond's bid was helped by the support of his wife, Ann, and children -- and he revealed that he recited the names of his youngsters, Sadhb (11) and Steve Jnr (8), in the closing stages of his crossing.

Last night, the swimmer paid a special tribute to his support team of Noel Brown and David Williams.

Steve's achievement includes completing all seven of the world's most daunting open water swims including the North Channel (Irl/UK), Cook Strait (NZ), English Channel (UK/France), Strait of Gibraltar (UK/Spain), Catalina Channel (US), the Moloka'i Channel (Hawaii/US) and now the Tsugaru Strait (Japan).

But he has no intention of retiring his swimming trunks just yet.

"There are a few more swims I'd love to try -- but I'm going to take a bit of a rest first," he said last night.

Irish Independent

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